My wife and I have worked very hard over the years to put ourselves in position to give our extra away. As a result, I thought I didn’t have much issue with stinginess—at least until a few days ago when my generosity was put to the test in one of the most mundane of circumstances.
This circumstance occurred last week as I was coming home from work. On normal evenings, I’m expected to get dinner or make dinner for the family. On this particular evening though, my wife had got invited to a moms night out. She had the kids with her too so I was my own for dinner.
You’d think I’d be pretty bummed about being left home alone, but to me it was a great opportunity to grab take-out from my favorite new Chinese restaurant.
When I got to the restaurant, there was a rather long line. The food at this restaurant is so delicious though that it’s totally worth the wait. After what seemed like forever, I finally had my food. This was a to-go order so I left the restaurant en route to my car. Before I could reach my car, a homeless man approached me out of nowhere.
He was frail and rather elderly. Or at least, he looked elderly. In either case, I stood still to listen to whatever this homeless man was about to say. With a bit of nervousness, he asks, “Is there any way you could help an old man get a warm bite to eat?”
I’ve never had a homeless man ask for food before, so this took me a bit by surprise. After I gained my bearings, I pointed and responded, “Sir, I just left that Chinese restaurant. Do you want some food from there?”
He seemed thrilled at my response as if a hundred people had already given him a negative answer. He quipped, “A small thing of orange chicken would be nice.” Without thinking I responded, “I’ve got a whole plate of orange chicken and fried rice right here. Take the plate. It’d be my pleasure.”
After some back and forth, the gentleman finally took the plate. Upon receiving the plate, he broke out into a very genuine prayer of thanksgiving. I prayed with him, and then I hopped in my car and continued home.
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Don’t let the above exchange fool you.
I was really looking forward to eating that plate of food. The homeless man though actually needed the food. I just wanted it. God was putting me in position to practice the following verse:
Luke 3:11 – If you have two coats, give one to the poor. If you have extra food, give it away to those who are hungry. (TLB)
I had no problem giving something away when I didn’t feel like it was mine to begin with. In this case though, I had taken possession of this orange chicken, and I didn’t want to give it up. Luckily, the Holy Spirit spoke for me, and He let me participate in doing the right thing.